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Where is my home?

Slovak Immigration to North America (1870–2010)


Mark Stolarik

Between 1870 and 2010 over half a million Slovaks migrated to the USA and Canada. As other ethnic groups from East Central Europe, they headed principally to the industrial triangle of the USA and to central Canada’s cities in search of work. Finding themselves in strange surroundings, they quickly established institutions that helped them to survive in a capitalist economy and to also preserve their religion, language and culture. As for many other ethnic groups, the border between the USA and Canada was to them irrelevant. Slovaks crossed it according to economic need and stayed in touch with each other. Meanwhile, they also remained in touch with their families in Europe and helped their people to survive Magyarization in Austria-Hungary, to achieve self-determination in the new Republic of Czechoslovakia and, finally, independence.
For the first time ever, the author has told the epic story of Slovak immigration to North America. Based upon forty years of archival and library research, supplemented by the life histories of over two dozen families scattered across the USA and Canada, and lavishly illustrated, this book will satisfy both academics and the general public who have long been waiting for a comprehensive history of this significant member of the family of Slavic nations.


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Chapter 7 - Slovak Marxists Disagree 205


Chapter 7 Slovak Marxists Disagree A few Marxists accompanied Slovak immigrants to both the USA and Canada. Even though their number remained small, they made up for it with enormous enthusiasm. They established fraternal- benefit societies and a newspaper press in both countries and pro- ceeded to denounce the capitalist economic system. Once they adopted Communism, they parroted orders from the Soviet Un- ion, although they differed in their reaction to the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. As in Eastern Europe after 1989, the movement collapsed among Slovaks in North America. In late June of 1970 Mark Stolarik made his second research trip to Slovakia.1 As he was checking in at the Historical Insti- tute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences at Klemensová 19 in down- town Bratislava, he ran into Dr. Ján Tibenský, whom he had met and befriended while both were on research trips in Cleve- land, Ohio, in the fall of 1966. Tibenský was delighted to see Mark again and invited him to a thesis defense at the Historical Institute the next afternoon. Dr. František [Ferko] Bielik, whom Mark also knew and had befriended on his 1968 research trip to Slovakia, was going to defend his Candidate in Science disser- tation.2 The next day Mark entered the office of the Director of the Historical Institute at 1:00 p. m. sharp and found that the regular furniture had been re-arranged to resemble a board-room. Ferko Bielik sat at one end of a long...

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